Public lecture explores changing face of terrorism

How social media is changing the way terrorists operate will be explored in a public lecture presented by Australia’s Counter Terrorism Ambassador, His Excellency, Bill Paterson today.

“Despite a significant record of counter-terrorism success, jihadist terrorism has endured and has diffused and dispersed,” Mr Paterson said.

He said social media were increasingly key terrorist communications tools and could radicalise and empower socially disaffected loners, including non-Muslim extremists.

“Terrorism is adaptive and resilient and its ideology continues to have resonance, reinforced by continuing instability and grievance in Muslim communities across a wide geographic area.

“Government responses need to define and address the conditions which may give rise to violent extremism, while seeking to ensure convicted terrorists disengage and are rehabilitated.”

Mr Paterson was Australia’s ambassador to Thailand from 2004-2008. He has extensive experience in international strategic and security politico-military affairs, including as head of DFAT’s Anti-Terrorism Task Force immediately after 9/11 terrorist attacks.

He has served in Dhaka, Baghdad, Vienna, Washington, Tokyo and Bangkok. He was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2004 and the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal in 2005.

Mr Paterson will also launch the book Pakistan’s Stability Paradox: Domestic, Regional and International Dimensions.

Edited by Dr Ashutosh Misra and Dr Michael E. Clarke, the book explores the paradoxes that characterise contemporary Pakistan from the simultaneous democratisation and Islamisation of civil society, to the schizophrenic US-Pakistan relationship.

Dr Misra is a Research Fellow at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security at Griffith University. Michael Clarke is an ARC Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute.

The lecture will be held at the Ship Inn, South Bank campus at 4.30pm today.